Tar Heels Finish Top 4 in Men’s and Women’s Capital One Cups

It was truly a special year for UNC athletics, as the Tar Heels wrapped up the 2015-16 season with a pair of top-four finishes in the Capital One Cup.

When results were announced Monday for the competition–which measures cumulative on-field performance across each men’s and women’s sport–UNC’s men placed second while its women tied for fourth.

In the award’s six-year history, the Tar Heels have been among the most successful programs–but this is still just the second time they’ve placed both their men and women in the top 10.

Oklahoma and Stanford are the only other schools that achieved the same honor this season.

Points are earned based on the amount of top-10 finishes in NCAA Division I Championships, as well as final coaches’ polls across 21 women’s and 20 men’s sports.

Championships in both men’s and women’s lacrosse helped the Tar Heel cause the most–while title game appearances by men’s basketball and field hockey also held a significant amount of weight.

This honor also comes just a couple weeks after UNC’s seventh place showing in the Directors’ Cup–which combines men’s and women’s sports into a single award.

In total, the Tar Heel women–who won the Capital One Cup in 2012-13–have finished in the top 10 in five out of six years.

The men, however, achieved their best finish this season while earning a third top-10.


UNC Ranks Seventh in Final Directors’ Cup Standings

Thursday morning brought the announcement that–for the 19th time in the award’s 23-year history–the Tar Heels again finished in the top 10 of the Learfield Director’s Cup standings.

After finishing the 2015-16 school year with a final tally of 1089.5 points, the Tar Heels ended up seventh overall–but were the highest ranked school to come from the ACC.

The Directors’ Cup measures postseason success and hands out points to a maximum of 10 men’s and 10 women’s programs per school.

Leading the way for the Tar Heels were their men’s and women’s lacrosse programs–which each earned 100 points toward UNC’s total by winning their sport’s national championships.

Runner-up finishes by men’s basketball and field hockey also played a large role in the Tar Heels’ final standing. In total, the school had 12 programs finish the season ranked in the top 20 of their respective sports.

There were no surprises at the top of the leaderboard, as Stanford took home the trophy for an astonishing 22nd consecutive year. The Cardinal racked up 1526.5 points to finish ahead of Ohio State, Michigan, Southern California and Florida.

UNC, which won the 1993-94 title, is the only other athletic program to ever win the prize. The Tar Heels’ 19 top 10 finishes rank fourth all-time behind only Stanford, Florida and UCLA.

All of the ACC’s other members have combined for just 18 top 10 finishes–or one less than UNC has by itself.

Eighth-place Virginia was the only other school from the conference to finish in the top 10 this year.


Three UNC Athletes Honored with Patterson Medals

Three UNC student-athletes have been honored with the Patterson Medal, the most prestigious athletic award given by the university.

Kristen Brown. Photo via UNC.

Kristen Brown. Photo via UNC.

The honorees are Kristen Brown, Marcus Paige and Emily Wold, the university announced on Thursday.

Brown is the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time softball home run leader and is the first softball player to win a Patterson Medal since the award was established in 1924.

Paige – the all-time leader in three-point field goals at UNC – is the 28th men’s basketball player to receive the award and fifth in the last 25 years, following Antawn Jamison in 1998, Brendan Haywood in 2001, Tyler Hansbrough in 2009 and Tyler Zeller in 2012.

Wold is a midfielder for the field hockey team and is a three-time first-team All-American. Wold joins three prior recipients – Cindy Werley in 1998, Rachel Dawson in 2008 and Katelyn Falgowski in 2012 – from the field hockey program.

The Patterson Medal is based primarily on career athletic accomplishments, according to the university.

Emily Wold. Photo via UNC.

Emily Wold. Photo via UNC.

The recipients must have played at least three seasons for the Tar Heels. Sportsmanship and leadership are also considered. Dr. Joseph Patterson first presented the medal in 1924 to honor the memory of his brother, John Durand Patterson.

The Patterson family will help present the medals to Brown, Paige and Wold at ceremonies during the 2016-17 school year.


Dr. Harry Stafford: Hometown Hero

Dr. Harry Stafford is Friday’s Hometown Hero.

Dr. Stafford has been a team physician for UNC for the past 8 years.  Currently, he is the head primary-care doctor for UNC’s women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track & field, and the cross country teams.

He also sees patients from the community at UNC Family Medicine.

You can nominate your own Hometown Hero.  WCHL has honored local members of our community everyday since 2002.


Let’s Give Back the Victories

And so we wait.

What action will the NCAA take against UNC for its athletic/academic wrongdoings?

Personally, I do not understand why the NCAA has any moral authority in these matters in any case. It is, after all, the enabler of the Big Time Sports schemes. I am much more concerned about the deliberations of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools from which a stern sentence could literally cost the university billions of dollars.

What troubles me now about the scandal is the narrow, legalistic framing. Does this email confirm corrupt behavior or exonerate the sender? What is the definition of “behavior?”  What is the definition of “sender?” Will an NCAA verdict and sentence bring a close to the scandal and its horrific costs to the moral core and the reputation of the University?

In my view, this narrow framing will not bring an end.  The University, does, however, have it within its own power to do the right thing, regardless of the legal contortions. This we know. Hundreds of presumed students participated in games as athletes, while getting credit for fraudulent courses. It matters not whether Roy Williams or Sylvia Hatchell or the entire Faculty Council were active collaborators or ignorant souls about these indisputable misdeeds, each individual has to live with their own conscience. We know that University procedures and officials made it possible for UNC teams to win by encouraging and enabling dishonesty at the vital core of any university–integrity in the classroom.

The University can own this responsibility by forfeiting the games, returning the tainted championship banners, acknowledging simply and clearly, “we violated the basic trust placed in us as a university and we take responsibility for making amends.”  In Dostoyevsky’s monumental psychological drama, Crime and Punishment, the very first we hear from Raskolnikov, the tormented protagonist, is “all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that’s an axiom.

It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most…”

If victories are what define athletics, let’s not be afraid to give them back.


— Lew Margolis


Chansky’s Notebook: Forever’s Voice

Like other legends we know, Woody’s voice will always be with us.

The way Woody Durham and his family handled his recent diagnosis is like he called UNC games in the heyday of his 40-year career as Voice of the Tar Heels. Perfectly.

Friends and those who heard Woody speak in recent years knew something was amiss, and while he was trying to find out exactly what, his family made the decision that he would no longer be in the public eye. No more speaking engagements or appearances while they learned why all the words weren’t coming out just right.

As we now know, Woody has primary progressive cognitive aphasia, a condition in a part of the brain that does not allow thoughts to translate into spoken or written words seamlessly. Primary is the key adjective here, because under the care of Dr. Jim Kurz at UNC, Woody may be able to live a next-to-normal life in retirement. He’ll see you, recognize you and say hello, but he may not say much more.

That’s okay; Woody has said enough as the umbilical cord to Carolina sports for two generations. And, with the advent of ESPN and other cable channels ad nauseam, no more radio broadcasters will grow into legends of his ilk. Too many people are now watching the tube.

Woody is the third of a Hall of Fame trio that was stricken with a cognitive impairment. He and Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge spent so much time together over four decades that you can’t help but wonder whether they ate at the wrong restaurant or drank from the same bad water fountain too many times.

Smith passed away in February of last year after a long battle with progressive dementia. His memory was so keen for facts, names and faces, and was such a thorough thinker, that it was almost as if he wore out his mind. Guthridge had the sharpest wit of the three, and could only crack an occasional one-liner before his death three months after Smith’s.

Now, in the ultimate irony, the Voice of the Tar Heels can no longer put long iambic pentameters together that became household phrases, words like Go Where You Go and Do What You Do.

We’ve already missed that distinctive and stylistic voice over the last few years, but Woody’s own courageous confession has given all of us more reason to remember it forever.

Hear this podcast and others from Art Chansky by clicking here.


Woody Durham Diagnosed with Disorder Affecting Language Expression

Longtime Voice of the Tar Heels Woody Durham has been diagnosed with a neurocognitive condition, the university announced on Wednesday.

The announcement came in the form of an open letter from Durham:

“Last winter, I was diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, primary progressive aphasia, that affects my language expression.  I want to tell you this because I will no longer be doing any public speaking. I can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with my wife, Jean, but I am not able to address groups as I did in the past.  While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.

Our entire family is grateful for the incredible care we have received from a group of very talented medical professionals, led by Dr. James Kurz and Dr. Daniel Kaufer, of UNC Health Care. They have helped me adapt to this diagnosis and set up a treatment plan that will help me manage my day-to-day activities as I continue to enjoy retirement.

As in the past, I will continue to attend Carolina functions and sporting events as my schedule permits; and be part of civic and other charitable endeavors throughout the state.  As part of these events, we want to make people more aware of primary progressive aphasia, and the impact that these neurocognitive disorders can have on individuals, families and friends.  Along with raising awareness, we hope to encourage financial support for continued research and treatment in our state, as well as nationally.

I also hope to meet many more of the people that enjoyed our radio broadcasts in the 40 years I was privileged to be the “Voice of the Tar Heels.” Those greetings and kind words have meant so much to me in the last five years, and hold a very special place in my heart.”

Listen to Woody read the letter here.

Chansky’s Notebook: Forever’s Voice

Durham retired in 2011 after 40 years behind the mic for Tar Heel men’s basketball and football games. Durham graduated from UNC in 1963 and went on to call more than 1,800 broadcasts on the Tar Heel Sports Network.

Durham won North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year 13 times and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame honored Durham in 2015 with the Curt Gowdy Award.


Chansky’s Notebook: Best Weekend Ever?

Championship Monday was also a message to the NC-Double up yours.

Despite the four years of attempted Death by Inertia from the NCAA, and a snub from the baseball selection committee, Carolina Athletics had its greatest weekend in history. A day after the UNC women won the NCAA lacrosse championship over former ACC rival Maryland, the men won their fifth national title by beating the now Big-Ten Terrapins in what may have been the most thrilling championship game in the sport’s history.

Carolina also barely missed other NCAA titles in women’s tennis, and only the Memorial Day bummer of baseball not receiving an NCAA bid dampened the weekend. But only barely, considering what the lacrosse teams were doing.

Chris Cloutier scored in sudden-death overtime after Brian Balkam saved the game by stopping a point-blank shot, as Carolina became the first school to win both men’s and women’s lacrosse titles in the same year since Princeton did it in 1994. And while the NCAA is still trying to screw with UNC by making the Diamond Heels the highest RPI’d team to miss the baseball big dance, Carolina continues to prove it has one of the best athletic programs in the country. And it won’t change, no matter what say the Committee on Infractions.

Recruiting might have been damaged for a year or two across the board, but Tar Heel teams still won the Coastal Division in football and nearly won the national basketball championship. Now, they have followed with one of their best spring seasons ever despite the baseball blip that says more about the flawed ACC tournament format than Mike Fox’s ball club.

By beating Maryland in both lacrosse finals, the ACC rubbed it in a little with the school that bolted for the big money of the Big Ten. Women’s lacrosse has been sensational under Coach Jenny Levy, winning its second title, and the men rallied from a poor start this season to give Coach Joe Breschi his first national championship and the school’s first in 25 years. What an anniversary present for the 1991 team!

The NCAA trauma is almost over, but Carolina will be stronger for it on the field and in the classroom.  Under Bubba Cunningham, UNC Athletics has been resilient in one of the most over-blown, hyped-up scandals in college history. The Tar Heels have taken their lumps – and are just starting to get even.


UNC Athletics To Hold Tar Heel Yard Sale

UNC Athletics will hold a surplus equipment yard sale Saturday morning from 7:00 a.m. to noon.

More than 12,000, mostly unworn items will be on sale, including more than 500 football jerseys in all colors and at least 100 pairs of Jordan Brand basketball shoes.

Parking is available in the Bell Tower Deck, the Cobb Deck and the Raleigh Road Visitors Lot. Disability parking is available on South Road.

Shoppers may line up on Carmichael Drive beginning at 4 a.m. No overnight camping is allowed.

Concessions will be available later in the day.


UNC Hits APR Record For Student-Athletes

UNC student-athletes earned a record high Academic Progress Rate for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The score of 987 last year is the second consecutive year the Tar Heels have set or tied their top single-season score in the APR.

“Tremendous credit goes to our students for their dedication and hard work in meeting and exceeding high standards in the classroom as well as in competition,” says athletic director Bubba Cunningham.

The APR is set up by the NCAA and measures eligibility and retention for varsity student-athletes.

The 18 Tar Heel programs that scored a perfect 1000 in 2014-15 are: men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, women’s golf, gymnastics, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, wrestling and volleyball.

“It starts with our coaches recruiting young people who are committed to being a well-rounded student at a world-class university,” Cunningham said. ” Academic Progress Rates are just one measure of success, but we are glad that they continue to trend upward at North Carolina.”

UNC’s APR has improved every year since 2011, when they posted a score of 966.

Football has averaged a rating of 959 over the last three years, which followed a nine-year average of 943.

Men’s basketball posted its second consecutive 1000, which improved its four-year rate to 974, which is 10 points above the national rate.